The Georgia Tech Symphony Orchestra performing at the Ferst Center

Georgia Tech School of Music Presents:
Strum Und Drang

Georgia Tech School of Music Presents: Strum Und Drang

Sunday, November 14, 2021
Ferst Center for the Arts

Chaowen Ting, Conductor


Georgia Tech Symphony Orchestra

Fanfare pour précéder “La Péri" (1912)

Paul Dukas

Altogether Thunder (2016)

Georgia Premiere

Emily Cooley
(b. 1990)

Strum (2006)

Jessie Montgomery
(b. 1981)

Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90 (1883)

      I. Allegro con brio

      II. Andante

      III. Poco allegretto

      IV. Allegro – Un poco sostenuto

Johannes Brahms

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Program Notes - Altogether Thunder

Having not been to Louisville prior to the premiere of this piece, I have heard about but not experience the spectacle of “Thunder Over Louisville”. The pictures and videos I have seen are awe-inspiring, and imagining firework displays was my programmatic inspiration for the piece. Also, in reflecting on the word “thunder,” I couldn’t help by think of my favorite lines from the R.E.M. song “Sweetness Follows”. The title is taken from those lines:

It’s these little things they can pull you under / live your life filled with joy and wonder /

I always knew this altogether thunder / was lost in our little lives

Program Notes - Strum

Strum is the culminating result of several versions of a string quintet I wrote in 2006. It was originally written for the Providence String Quartet and guests of Community MusicWorks Players, then arranged for string quartet in 2008 with several small revisions. In 2012 the piece underwent its final revisions with a rewrite of both the introduction and the ending for the Catalyst Quartet in a performance celebrating the 15th annual Sphinx Competition.

Originally conceived for the formation of a cello quintet, the voicing is often spread wide over the ensemble, giving the music an expansive quality of sound. Within Strum I utilized texture motives, layers of rhythmic or harmonic ostinati that string together to form a bed of sound for melodies to weave in and out. The strumming pizzicato serves as a texture motive and the primary driving rhythmic underpinning of the piece. Drawing onAmerican folk idioms and the spirit of dance and movement, the piece has a kind of narrative that begins with fleeting nostalgia and transforms into ecstatic celebration.

Headshot of composer Emily Cooley

Emily Cooley


Emily Cooley is a Philadelphia-based composer of orchestral, chamber, and vocal music whose work has been described as “masterfully written and orchestrated” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) and “a beautiful delicacy” (Vermont Today). Frequently in dialogue with works of contemporary fiction and critical theory, her music questions conventions of narrative, re-imagines emotional expression, and explores the dynamics of power and vulnerability.

Cooley's orchestral music has been performed by the Nashville, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Louisville, Milwaukee, Berkeley, Sioux City, and Eastern Connecticut symphony orchestras; the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra; and numerous university and conservatory orchestras. Also active as a concert producer and curator, Cooley is a founding member and the current publicity director for Kettle Corn New Music, which produces a year-round series of new music concerts in New York City.

Born in 1990 in Milwaukee, WI, Cooley holds degrees from Yale University, the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music, and the Curtis Institute of Music. She has been in residence at

Yaddo, Copland House, and the Avaloch Farm Music Institute; and she is a recipient of the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the ASCAP Morton Gould Award. Her mentors include John K. Boyle, Kathryn Alexander, Andrew Norman, Stephen Hartke, Jennifer Higdon, David Ludwig, and Mary Javian.


[Photo credit to Ali Doucette]

Headshot of composer Jessie Montgomery

Jessie Montgomery


Jessie Montgomery is an acclaimed composer, violinist, and educator. She is the recipient of the Leonard Bernstein Award from the ASCAP Foundation, and her works are performed frequently around the world by leading musicians and ensembles. Her music interweaves classical music with elements of vernacular music, improvisation, language, and social justice, placing her squarely as one of the most relevant interpreters of 21st-century American sound and experience. Her profoundly felt works have been described as “turbulent, wildly colorful and exploding with life” (The Washington Post).

Jessie was born and raised in Manhattan’s Lower East Side in the 1980s during a time when the neighborhood was at a major turning point in its history. Artists gravitated to the hotbed of artistic experimentation and community development. Her parents –her father a musician, her mother a theater artist and storyteller –were engaged in the activities of the neighborhood and regularly brought Jessie to rallies, performances, and parties where neighbors, activists, and artists gathered to celebrate and support the movements of the time. It is from this unique experience that Jessie has created a life that merges composing, performance, education, and advocacy.

Her growing body of work includes solo, chamber, vocal, and orchestral works. Jessie’s teachers and mentors include Sally Thomas, Ann Setzer, Alice Kanack, Joan Tower, Derek Bermel, Mark Suozzo, Ira Newborn, and Laura Kaminsky. She holds degrees from the Juilliard School and New York University and is currently a Graduate Fellow in Music Composition at Princeton University.

For Jessie’s full bio, see


Ensemble Members

Violin I

Elliott Chen, Concertmaster Computer Science, 1st year
Hannah Lee, Assistant Concertmaster Computer Science, 1st year
Raymond Jia Computer Engineering, 3rd year
Mustafa Hussain Computer Science, 4th year
Felix Pei Electrical Engineering, 3rd year
Nikhil Damani Computer Engineering, 4th year
Kenneth Mo Computer Science, 1st year
Andy Mund Architecture, 3rd year
Jennifer Deng Computer Science, 2nd year
Banglue Wei Aerospace Engineering, 1st year

Violin II

Alexander Shih, Principal Mechanical Engineering, 3rd year
Kevin Li Electrical Engineering, 3rd year
Emily Primmer Biology, 2nd year
Harold Graney Green Neuroscience, 2nd year
Madison Park Mechanical Engineering, 1st year
Jerry Xiong Computer Science, 1st year
Joann Ching Music Technology, 1st year masters
Subrahmanyam Mullangi Computer Science, 1st year


Ivy Xue, Principal Neuroscience, 2nd year
Richard Weng Mechanical Engineering, 1st year
Michelle Wang Computer Science, 2nd year
Emma Axelson Civil Engineering/Applied Languages and Intercultural Studies German, 4th year
Emily Liu Aerospace Engineering, 3rd year
Micah Lingle Computer Science, 2nd year


Sergey Blinov, Principal Physics, 1st year
Peter Gardner Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, 2nd year
Eric Chen Economics, 1st year
Ilana Hilley Music Technology, 1st year
Benjamin Borthwick Computer Science, 1st year
Matthew Zhou Computer Science, 1st year
Rishul Ravi Materials Science and Engineering, 4th year
Nat Wertz Computer Science, 2nd year


Eric Shute, Principal Mechanical Engineering, 3rd year


Pooja Manekar ^ Biomedical Engineering, 1st year
Allison Wang * Business Administration, 1st year


Colin Li ^ Mechanical Engineering, 2nd year
Anthony Otlowski * Aerospace Engineering, 1st year


David Liu ^ Computer Science, 1st year
Katherine Shen * Aerospace Engineering, 2nd year


Derek Rizzi ^ Civil Engineering, 4th year
Lixin Zheng * Mathematics, 2nd year


Kate Blake Electrical Engineering, 3rd year
Alex Bendeck Computer Science, 1st year PhD
Matthew Reingold * Materials Science and Engineering, 3rd year
Isaac Tomblin ^ Computer Science, 4th year


Daniel Hudadoff * Electrical Engineering, 4th year
Matthew Liu ^ Civil Engineering, 3rd year
Richard Still Mechanical Engineering, 5th year


Michael Krausz *^ Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, 1st year
Justin Zandstra Mathematics, 3rd year
Eli Corley Computer Engineering, 1st year


Alejando Martinez Physics, 1st year


Ben Mayton Music Technology, 3rd year


Denotes principal player:  *Cooley, ^Brahms

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